May 6 2014 12:30pm

First Look: Beth Kendrick’s Cure for the Common Breakup (May 6, 2014)

Cure for the Common Breakup by Beth KendrickBeth Kendrick
Cure for the Common Breakup
NAL / May 6, 2014 / $15.00 print, $9.99 digital

Welcome to Black Dog Bay, a tiny seaside town in Delaware known as “the best place in America to bounce back from your breakup.” Home to the Better Off Bed-and-Breakfast, the Eat Your Heart Out bakery, and the Whinery bar, Black Dog Bay offers a haven for the suddenly single.

Flight attendant Summer Benson lives by two rules: Don’t stay with the same man for too long and never stay in one place. She’s about to break rule number one by considering accepting her boyfriend’s proposal—then disaster strikes and her world is shattered in an instant.

Summer heads to Black Dog Bay, where the locals welcome her. Even Hattie Huntington, the town’s oldest, richest, and meanest resident, likes her enough to give her a job. Then there’s Dutch Jansen, the rugged, stoic mayor, who’s the opposite of her type. She probably shouldn’t be kissing him. She definitely shouldn’t be falling in love.

After a lifetime of globe-trotting, Summer has finally found a home. But Hattie has old scores to settle and a hidden agenda for her newest employee. Summer finds herself faced with an impossible choice: Leave Black Dog Bay behind forever, or stay with the ones she loves and cost them everything....

Reading Beth Kendrick's Cure for the Common Breakup is a reminder that reading is entertainment. And this book is Entertainment with a capital E.

First of all is the locale; Black Dog Bay is a town dedicated to helping the heartbroken recover and the people there will do whatever is necessary to make that happen—even if it is confiscating cell phones:

“Celeste, honey, no.” Marla wedged herself between the woman and the table. “Step away from the cell phones.”

“Where’s the key?” the woman ripped off her hat and ran her fingers through long, tangled hair. “Forget everything I said yesterday. Just give me my phone.“

“Absolutely not.” Marla adopted the demeanor of a stern finishing school headmistress. “This is for your own good.”

“One text.” Celeste grabbed Marla’s hand. “That’s all I’m asking for. One last little text. For closure.”

“Texting him is not going to make you feel better.” Marla adopted the tone of the voice you’d use to soothe a spooked horse. “This is just your brain chemistry resetting itself back to normal…You’re not in your right mind—you’re a junkie in withdrawal.“

The willowy brunette glanced down at her trembling hands, her expression mutinous. “I know exactly what I want, and it’s to text that miserable, selfish SOB and tell him that. . .that…”

“What?” Marla planted her hands on her ample hips. “That you still need him? That you can’t live without him? That you know you two still love each other deep down?”

At this, Celeste burst into tears. “You don’t know him! You don’t know me!”

And then there is the Retail Therapy boutique:

”I’m Beryl. Delighted to meet you.” She gave Summer’s wrinkled outfit a once-over. “What can I help you find?”

Summer shivered as her body adjusted to the arctic air-conditioning. “Something shapeless, soft, and ice-cream-stain resistant. A shroud made of Egyptian cotton and Teflon would be perfect”…

Beryl’s smile never faltered as she led Summer toward the other side of the room. “Let’s start over here. I’ve organized the racks according to the stages of breakup recovery.”

Summer raised an eyebrow. “What, like denial and anger and bargaining?”

“Mm-hmm.” Beryl’s ponytail bounced when she nodded. “You’re still in the grieving stage, so we’ll start here.”

Summer tilted her head. “How do you know I’m in the grieving stage?”

“Honey. You just asked for a stain-resistant shroud.” Beryl clicked her tongue. “When you’re ready, we have the ‘rage and revenge’ section over there, and then the ‘single and self-confident’ section over there.“

Of course you can’t get over a break-up without some serious self-pampering, and the Rebound Salon is there to give you a manicure, pedicure or new haircut to give you the confidence to move on. If you need some anaesthesia for the pain, then you can just make your way to the Whinery and their specialty drink “Cure for the Common Breakup”—a drink made of only fresh ingredients to ensure a fresh start (fresh squeezed orange juice, vermouth, and champagne). Plus the drink goes wonderfully with chocolate and mood swings.

So the town is perfect with its tongue-in-check witticism, but it is the heroine that is the icing on the cake. She is the type of woman that most women can only dream about being. Sublimely confident, and gorgeously beautiful. She is not afraid to go after what she wants:

Jenna was still staring at Summer. “So all these women have asked him out, and he’s said no. And you asked him out and he said no.”

Summer nodded. “Correct.”

“But this time, he’s going to say yes?”


“And it will go differently this time because…?”

“I heard from a reliable source that it was worth trying again. So break out your marshmallows and your sleeping bags, because this girl is on fire.” …

“Jenna, would you kindly set the mood with some appropriate music? Something sultry and slow? Maybe Nina Simone?”

Jenna changed the soundtrack to “Call Me Maybe” and Hollis started lip synching.

“I hate you both,” Summer told them. . .

Summer helped herself to a clean wineglass, added the finishing touch, then handed it over to Jenna.

“Give that to Dutch,” she instructed. “Tell him it’s compliments of the hot blonde on the other side of the bar.”

Jenna looked at the glass and burst out laughing. “You really want to do this in front of everyone?”

“Hell, yeah. This is the Summer Benson school of courtship. Go big or go home.”

All eyes were on Dutch by the time Jenna arrived with the wineglass in hand.
“This is, uh. . . “Jenna almost dropped the glass. “From her.”

Dutch reached into the glass and pulled out the lacy red panties Summer had tucked inside.

Don’t you just love a woman who knows what she wants, and is not afraid to go after it? Of course it wouldn’t be a story, if it was that easy. But no matter, you will thoroughly enjoy Dutch’s and Summer’s courtship.

Cure for the Common Breakup is amusing, entertaining, charming and witty, but it is not all frivolity; it has wonderfully subtle and not so subtle messages, about standing up for yourself, learning to trust again, and taking the risk of falling in love. This book is Ms. Kendrick at her humorous best.

Learn more or pre-order a copy of Cure for the Common Breakup by Beth Kendrick, available on May 6, 2014:

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Leigh Davis, blogger

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